On Jan 1, 2021, one day after the iconic sign was removed, the Cliff House was covered in graffiti. (Sara Gaiser/S.F. Examiner)

On Jan 1, 2021, one day after the iconic sign was removed, the Cliff House was covered in graffiti. (Sara Gaiser/S.F. Examiner)

Newly vacant Cliff House begins New Year covered in graffiti

One day after the iconic sign was removed from San Francisco’s Cliff House, marking the end of an era at the popular tourist site, the historic building was covered with graffiti.

Residents and visitors taking a New Year’s Day walk Friday morning were greeted with sprawling black graffiti letters across the usually pristine white building, which overlooks Sutro Baths and Ocean Beach.

And it was not the only place tagged in the area. The vacant Louis’ Diner just up the street, which also closed in July after 83 years, had graffiti visible on its walls as well.

The Cliff House closed officially Thursday after restaurant operators Dan and Mary Hountalas said they were unable to reach an agreement with the National Park Service over a long-term lease or continue operating at a loss during the pandemic. The restaurant ended in-house dining in March, due to the pandemic, and ceased operations altogether in July after a brief, money-losing attempt at offering take-out only service.

The Cliff House closed officially Thursday after the longtime operators were unable to reach a lease agreement with the National Park Service. (Sara Gaiser/S.F. Examiner)

The Cliff House closed officially Thursday after the longtime operators were unable to reach a lease agreement with the National Park Service. (Sara Gaiser/S.F. Examiner)

The closure also affects a coffee shop at the Lands End Visitors’s Center.

The Park Service, which controls the property, said it had offered a three-and-a-half year lease extension to the family, but that they had declined the offer.

“This decision, however, does not mean the Cliff House building will permanently close,” the agency said in a statement, describing the closure as a “temporary suspension of services.” “The NPS is committed to maintaining this iconic building.”

The closure and sudden appearance of graffiti, however, raise questions about the long term future of the tourist area at Lands End.

(Sara Gaiser/S.F. Examiner)

(Sara Gaiser/S.F. Examiner)

The Cliff House is the third and last major restaurant in the area to shut down this year. The Seal Rock Inn Restaurant, just up the road, announced its permanent closure in August, shortly after Louis’.

While the park service has said it plans to resume service at the Cliff House, it has also said the solicitation process is currently suspended due to the pandemic, leaving it unclear exactly when the building will be occupied again.

The agency has said that it plans to take steps to prevent vandalism. A spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday on the new graffiti.

Louis’ Diner, which closed in July 2020, also has graffiti on it. (Sara Gaiser, S.F. Examiner)

Louis’ Diner, which closed in July 2020, also has graffiti on it. (Sara Gaiser, S.F. Examiner)

Supervisor-elect Connie Chan, who will be sworn in to represent the Richmond District on Jan. 8, called the graffiti “disheartening” and “disappointing,” especially coming so soon after the closure. She said she intends to facilitate conversations with the community about what residents would like to see happen in the area.

Chan said the closure highlighted the need for The City to help legacy and small businesses.

“It is a challenging situation,” Chan said. “I know that it’s not unique to the Outer Richmond, it’s really our entire city. How do we recover from the economic and social impact of the pandemic as a city, not just this area?”

Louis’ Diner, which closed in July 2020, sits empty with multiple graffiti tags on it on Jan. 1, 2021. (Sara Gaiser, S.F. Examiner)

Louis’ Diner, which closed in July 2020, sits empty with multiple graffiti tags on it on Jan. 1, 2021. (Sara Gaiser, S.F. Examiner)

Bay Area Newssan francisco news

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

A view of Science Hall at the City College of San Francisco Ocean campus on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
CCSF begins search for next chancellor amid new challenges

‘It’s arguably the biggest single responsibility the board has,’ trustee says

Some people are concerned that University of California, San Francisco’s expansion at its Parnassus campus could cause an undesirable increase in the number of riders on Muni’s N-Judah line.<ins></ins>
Will UCSF’s $20 million pledge to SFMTA offset traffic woes?

An even more crowded N-Judah plus increased congestion ahead cause concern

(Robert Greene/Tribune News Service)
As tensions grow over vaccinations and politics, California lawmakers face threats from public

Anti-vaccine speakers hint at gun violence during routine budget hearing at state Capitol

Dr. Martin Luther King in Sam Pollard’s ‘MLK/FBI’. (Courtesy of IFC Films/TNS)
The superb documentary ‘MLK/FBI’ clearly connects the past to our troubling present

Justin Chang Los Angeles Times Among the many archival materials excerpted in… Continue reading

Toni Isabella, a counselor at Ohlhoff Recovery Programs, finds helpful assistance from service dog Barker Posey.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Toni Isabella: Helping people indoors and out recover from addiction’s dark side

Counselor supports holistic, progressive approach to healing

Most Read